updated 10/21/2010 7:34:00 PM ET 2010-10-21T23:34:00

An 11-year-old boy led a dozen police cars in pursuit as he "drove in circles" around this small South Carolina town on a joy ride, the first of two this week that landed him in juvenile jail, police said Thursday.

The youngster, a fourth-grade student, was not identified because of his age. Marion Police Lt. Farmer Blue said the boy is accused of driving off Monday evening in a fire department pickup truck that had been parked after an exercise near a training area.

"He put us on a real chase," Blue said in a telephone interview. "We had a line of cars after him."

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Blue said the youngster led officers on a 45-minute chase around the city Monday evening, never exceeding 45 mph during a pursuit that stayed within Marion limits.

"He blew through stop signs. He drove in circles," Blue said. The boy stopped only after he'd driven by his home several times and his mother recognized him when she came out to see what was going on, according to the officer.

"He stopped after his mother jumped in front of the truck," Blue added.

Blue said the boy, who was released to his family, drove off the next day in an SUV reported missing from a restaurant near the youngster's home.

"I spotted him about two blocks from he lives, and he led us on a 45-minute chase again," Blue said. "He said he just got tired of walking and wanted a ride."

Blue said a family court judge signed an order allowing the child to be placed in state custody.

"He was crying. I don't think he was comprehending that he put himself and others in danger, really," Blue said.

Marion is a town of about 33,000 about 45 miles northwest of the Atlantic beach resort of Myrtle Beach.

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